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crease of them may be prevented, they tion of undefined privilege, so analogous know that such a Reform only twenty to undefined prerogative, may it not be years ago night, and probably would, have respectfully asked, if there either be or averted a war that has búrthened the can be a prerogative, a privilege beyond nation with an additional debt of nearly thisma power of acting for the public 600 millions, and added forty millions a good, where the positive law is silent year to its taxes: The flagrant violations and again, where the law can be made of the elective rights of the nation, the to speak, can it be either necessary, or shameful inequality of representation, and expedient, or safe, that there should be the unconstitutional length of parliaments, any discretionary prerogative or discreas well as the seducing of members from tionary privilege? If the law be capable their fidelity to the people by places and of redressing a libelled sovereign, and for peusions from the crown, being obviously that cause deny to the King a privilege of wrong against the constitution, against the being at once accuser, jury, judge, and principles of our law, against justice, executioner in his own cause, how can against reason, against decency, and ut- such irreconcileable powers be justly terly subversive of public liberiy, big with claimed by either of the other two branches every species of rain, whether pecuniary, of the legislaturei'-And would not a union political, or moral, and tending no less to of such powers constitute a despotisin unthe subjugation of these islands to a foreign known to the English constitution, and reconqueror than to the debasement and volting to reason? But leaving to the se. misery of the people and their posterity, rious meditation of the House these imconstitute a grievance truly intolerable : portant questions, in which the legality or wherefore the petitioner, deprecating all illegality of their warrant against sir F. that metaphorical and contemptible so- Burdett seems to be involved, allow the phistry about the coustitution, by which petitioner to call the attention of the House wicked men endeavour to exhibit as a to the late military proceedings rising out mystery that which our brave unlettered of orders issued by civil authorities, and ancestors framed as a plain, practical, and more especially to the act of breaking honest rule of government, trusts that the open, with a military force, and by vioHouse, as early as may be, will originate lence, the house of the said sir F. Burdett a law for extending representation to the --not charged with either treason or fesame limit as direct taxation in support of lony or a breach of the peace, and conthe poor, the church, and the state, fordis- ducting him through a body of armed soltributing that representation with justice diers, drawn up in his own hall, to a carand impartiality, for bringing back par- riage surrounded by an army, and so to a liamenis to a constitutional duration, for prison : on the flagrant illegality of such ordering the elections as to prevent unne- an outrage on an Englishman, the petitioner cessary trouble and expence, as well as presumes there is but one opinion : it is tumult, and for preserving their freedom personally known to the petitioner, that and completing the polls in one day, and two days prior to the seizure of sir F. Burlikewise for protecting from treasonable dett as aforesaid, when a number of perviolation, by appropriate laws, the Ma
sons assembled before his door were jesty of the nation, as it ought to charged with being rioters, a body of sole be personified by the House : few and diers belonging to the standing army, in simple as are these propositions, they military array, and under the orders of a would, as the petitioner is hunibly of opi- general officer then present, were emnion, do more for our country, its liberties, ployed, and, as the petitioner humbly conits prosperity, and its glory, than were done ceives, illegally employed, to keep the for it by Magna Charta and the Bill of peace; and he believes the same illegal Rights: here, under a strong persuasion mode of keeping the peace was persevered that the evils of destroyed representation in until the imprisonment of the said sir had arrived at their acme, this appeal to F. Burdett was accomplished : A standing the serious reflection of the House had army, although necessary for offensive war actually been closed, but that erroneous and the protection of external possessions, persilasion has been done away by recent being yet altogether unknown to the law events, which have placed before the na. and constitution of this kingdom, such tion's wondering eyes those evils in still army not constituting part of the civil more terrific shapes, and leading to still state, but being under a different command more dreadful consequences : on the ques. and subject to a different law, cannot of VOL. XVI,
course be a legaf instrument for governing standing army for restoring quiet, what is the nation, that is, for executing any pro- the obvious inference to be drawn from cess of the law, or for ministerially per- this constant practice : bere the House is forming any act of a civil authority for implored to reflect whether without being giving effect to the law, even although such misled by names or appearances of any act were lawful to peace officers : When kind, it must not be acknowledged that a an indiscreet populace, angered by viola- state is in reality under a civil or under a tions of public liberty, or other cause, as- military government, as for the ultimate semble together, annoy, by any species of inforcement of its laws, if resort be had to assault, those whom they consider as their a civil power or to a military force, and oppressors, none can deny that the law is the House knows that civil government violated, and the peace broken; but those alone is free government, military gowho lead out a standing army, in full mi- vernment rank despotism :, having thos tary array and equipment, to restore order, established the principles whereby to commit a violation of Jaw a thousand judge, the character of the proceedings times more criminal, and a breach of the for executing the late orders of the House, peace ten thousand times more violent will now be easily determined; the Serand alarming : A rabble of idle men or jeant at Arms solicited and obtained for unruly boys might on a sudden daub our this service an army, including all the clothes, demolish our window glass, and troops on their march from country quare assume a momentary authority; but an ters, for supporting those within the des organized posse comitatus would instantly tropolis, the whole is generally believed restore peace, and the dominion of the to have exceeded 34,000 men, beside an law; whereas, when a standing army, as. ample train of artillery, a greater force suming the office of our protector, sub- than that with which an English-King dejects as to a government of ball and bay- feated 100,000 Frerich at Cressy, and an onet, then indeed our constitution is foully army which in this instance could have stained, liberty is stabbed, and the law it- no other object than to overpower or to self is demolished ! The sword may indeed kill all such as might have attempted to again return to its scabbard, and the sole resist, by force, the execution of the order diery retire to their barrack fortresses, of the House; the House is therefore inbut, if their re-appearance be to depend treated to give mature consideration to the on the discretion of any, from a police following queries : If a standing army be magistrate up to the King, is not this mi- unknown io the law and constitution of litary government? It is not surely with this kingdom, must not its employment, discretionary power thus despotic that under pretence of inforcing law, be in fact parliamentary privilege, forgetting its own the greatest of all violations of law, and an defensive nature, will claim to have kin. actual subversion of the constitution? Is it dred, or seek to hold fellowship. The not the duty of every man within the ages English goverument is itself only to blame, of 15 and 60, as a member of the county if its legal means of suppressing riots, by power, to resist by force a breach of the a resistless county power, be not at all peace; the breaking into a house, orany act times, and in all places, in perfect readi- of illegal violence against a fellow subject ness at a call for preserving the public whether the peace breakers or the house tranquillity; shall it claim to use for this breakers or other violaters of the law be perpose the military force of a standing or be not soldiers? If any person or perarmy, because it has purposely and insi- son defying the law should determine 'diously kept the civil power in a state of to perpetrate acts of illegal violence is inefficiency? Shall it first cripple the law open rebellion against law, and should, and then claim to use an army for our go- with an intent to overpower or to kill alt vernment? If then our rulers have, and persons who should attempt to resist tbem, particularly for the last thirty years, put themselves at the head of an army of against law, against remonstrance, against mercenary soldiers, and by means of such exhortation, intentionally left the county army should actually carry their illegal power which is vital to our constitution, and violent designs into execution, would in its shamefully neglected state, and not this be of open deed levying war have on all occasions of trifling disorders against our lord the King in his realm? Is in our streets, disorders to which their not such levying of war of open deed own neglect of duty gave birth, got into a among the treasons enumerated in the constant babit of illegally introduciug the statute of 25 Edward III.? Must not the
ceye killing of any of the people by an army Mr. Whitbread begged to assure the 1983 while so acting be murder? Must not all House that-it was his firm persuasion that " the soldiery of such army, present at any the gentleman whose petition he pre
sucha murders, be in law principals, as well sented, had no wish either directly or in
as those under whose orders they should directly to insult that House. From such a 17 act ? Considering how much the soldiers charge the character, the whole political caer of a standing army are machines and in- reerofthe petitioner,as visible in his actions,
struinents in the hands of them who com as illustrated by his public conduct, and ex
mand, must not those who give them pressed in his writings, ought to protect or orders be the most criminal parties in any him. His only object was to take consti! such murders ? And whether in the present tutional means of putting upon record his mi circumstances of this kingdom, consider- own opinion of the passing events of these sing the immense number of native soldiers times. In stating ihat opinion, the peti
under a different command from that of tioner felt he did it respectfully, although the civil magistrates, and subject to a dif- he would not consent to adapt his style or ferent law from that of the civil courts, regulate his sentiments according to the and the vast addition of foreign merce- newfangled doctrines of the Chancellor of naries born under arbitrary power, and as the Exchequer and his associates--of that soldiers doubly enslaved, a military des- Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, not sapotism, as rigorous as that of France, cantisfied with his opposition to throwing the possibly be averted, but by restoring to doors of that House open to the prayers full vigour and energy the county power, of the people, nor with his fastidiousness as thirty years ago was earnestly recom- as to the language of petitions, had on mended and urged by sir William Jones : that night found a new ground for rejecWherefore the petitioner trusts that in the tion, merely, because the petition of a present awful crisis of our country, the subject was rather of greater length than House will take in good part his dutiful was ordinarily presented, and that conseexpostulations, cheerfully relinquish every quently it would occupy too much room unconstitutional claim of power, heal our upon the journals of that House. The distractions, and preserve our liberties, by objection made to the words,“ past enduexerting all its energies for restoring our rance," could not be for one moment syptwo-fold constitution in its most vital ported. A House of Commons, putting organs, its Commons House, and its Coun the conduct of the present out of all ques: ty Power.”
tion, might have done and had actually Mr. Whitbread moved that the petition done things, which ought not to have been do lie on the table.
endured. If the fact was so, ought not The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that the people to complain, and if they after the recent decisions of that House thought their acts intolerable, why deupon petitions not couched in respectful prive them of the opportunity of stating language, it was unnecessary for him to their opinions, that they were so ? If such do any thing more at present, than merely a state of events had taken place in the to aclvert to two offensive passages in the country, that it was almost its general opipetition just read, which, in his opinion, nion that the conduct of that House was were conclusive against its reception.- past endurance, would it not be more wise The first passage was, that which referring and more politic to receive the petitions to the vote of last year (the decision on of the people, acquainting it that such was Mr. Madocks's motion of last session) pro- the public opinion, rather than by a denounced it beyond endurance. The other nial of all redress, to almost urge the peo• in referring to the vote of that House for ple to acts of open violence? Was it by the committal of sir F. Burdett, charac- the denial of redress and the refusal ever to terised it as an act of flagrant illegality. hear the public complaint, that the ChanIndeed, if the House were to encourage the cellor of ihe Exchequer would convince presenting of such long petitions, from an the people that the conduct of that House indvidual, as that then presented, it may, was to be endured? You may put the for the future, expect to have others present. victim upon the rack; his complaints and ed lengthened out into folios. But confin cries you may refuse to hear, but you ing himself to the two insulting passages cannot prevent death to take place in to which he alluded, he felt himself bound some of the paroxysms of bis suffering. to oppose the rootion that it should lie on It was so with that House. It might inthe table.
flict; the country would complain; by that House their prayers may be disre- of Brunswick Oels. He regretted that it garded. Their grievances may be multi- was necessary to bring a motion in the plied, but the constitution must expire. present shape before the consideration of But with respect to the words themselves, parliament.' He should have hoped that, what was more common in the ordinary after the very liberal conduct of parliaphraseology of language? Was it not ment towards the civil list at a time not every day heard, when schedules of in- long past, some means might bare been come tax, assessed taxes, and the cata- provided for affording a sufficient relief to logue of imposts were sent out, to draw the duke of Brunswick, in his present cir. the last shilling from an aggrieved and cumstances, without coming to parliament burthened people ;-was it not the com- for another grant of public money. It mon, the heart-felt observation, that such was for his Majesty's ministers to consider things were past endurance? But, in the whether it was wise or prudent for them reference made in the petition, the lan- to expect parliament to give money merely guage could be only considered figurative, because they were asked for it. When inasmuch as the evil so complained of had he recollected that, within the last two been endured. The next objection re- years, no less a sum than 10,000 l. per ferred to the manner in which the petiti- annum was voted for the duchess of oner spoke of the conduct of that House Brunswick, he thought that if there had towards sir F. Burdett. He stated it to been any other mode of providing for his be, in his opinion, an illegal act. Was highness without laying additional barthis a ground for refusal? Had not the dens on this country, it should have been subject a right to state his opinion upon resorted to. The large pension which every proceeding of that House? But had been granted to the duchess of Brunsabove all, might he not be ailowed to de- wick was voted by that House, unaniliver a speculative opinion upon that very mously, as he believed, and without any question, which by a yote of that House observations. As to his highness the was now sent to a court of law, in which duke of Brunswick Oels, although he had court its Speaker was desired to enter a as high a respect for his rank and characplea? Under such circumstances, to refuse ter as any man, yet he did not conceive to receive the petition of a subject, was that his claims were of the same nature as going to an extent which never could be that of the duchess of Brunswick, the supported.
sister of the King. He, however, kad The Chancellor of the Ercheguer ex- made no objection to the pension of 7,0001. plained. It was not for doubting or ques. voted to his royal highness from the contioning their privileges that he objected to solidated fund. He knew that the consothe petition. It was for directly assert- lidated fund was much the best security ing that there was but one opinion, that upon which a pension could be charged, they were illegal, and that the acts of the as it would be regularly paid. But wbile, House were so outrageous, as to be past for this reason, he agreed to the pension endurance.
being secured in that fund, still if any Mr. Brund maintained that it was the other means could be pointed out for inundoubted right of the subject to question demnifying that fund for the burthen so every act of authority of the House, or thrown on it, he thought such means ought any other branch of the constitution. 1 to be had recourse to. The persion might He should, therefore, be sorry if the pe- have been secured on the civil list, or the tition were rejected on that account. 44 per cents. without burthening the con
Mr. Secretary Ryder thought the ex. solidated fund; but ministers, however, pression “past all endurance," fully suf- thought proper to come to parliament, and ficient to warrant the rejection of the to propose it as a matter of course to throw petition. If the House permitted such in- it upon the consolidated fund. Now, if sulting language, they would deserve to any other fund could be shewn to exist receive it.
sufficient to relieve the country of tbe A division then took place-For receiv- burthen of this pension, and he understood ing the Petition 32; against it 91. that the Droits of Admiralty were sufficient
(DUKE OF BRUNSWICK's Annuity.) Mr. for that purpose, (!he Chancellor of the Tierney rose, in pursuance of a notice he Exchequer appeared not to assent) be had given on a former day, to move an thought that such fund ought to be ap. humble Address to bis Majesty with replied to that purpose. He hoped that spect to the pension granted to the duke gentleman would not so far misunderstand
him, as to suppose that he meant that the moved, it would be a more gracious, or pension should be charged on the Droits of rather a less offensive manner, to seek Admiralty, but he did think that a certain their wishes, by addressiаg his Maportion of them ought to be paid into the jesty at once to grant such a sum out of consolidated fund, for the purpose of in- the droits of the admiralty for the general demnifying it for the burthen so thrown service of the country, and not for this
He could not see any more particular pension. The Address was in. wholesome application of those Droits, deed curiously constructed. It began by which were supposed by many to be the taking great credit to the House of Comabsolute property of the crown, than to mons for the liberality they displayed in be applied towards making a suitable pro- the grant, and for their anxiety in securing vision for so near a relation to his Ma. a provision for a prince so nearly allied to jesty. The right hon. gent. concluded by his Majesty, and yet immediately after moving, “That an humble Address be taking this credit for liberality, it turned presented to his Majesty, to represent to short round upon his Majesty, and requesthis Majesty that we have proceeded to ed that he would pay them the whole take into consideration his Majesty's most amount of what in their liberality they had gracious Message relative to his serene just granted. It must be recollected, how. highness the duke of Brunswick Wolfen- ever, that out of the droits of admiralty his buttel: To assure bis Majesty, that we Majesty had recently given large sums for participate in his Majesty's anxiety to the general service of this country. Bemake such provision as may be suitable tween 3 and 400,0001, had been given on to the rank and to the misfortunes of a account of the prizes taken at Copenprince so nearly allied to his Majesty's hagen, which otherwise must have been throne, and for whom his Majesty's feel- purchased from the captors, at the expence ings are so strongly interested : humbly of the country. The right hon. gent. had to acquaint his Majesty, that with a view stated that two years ago, no one objected to secure to his serene highness a settled in- to a pension of 10,0001. a year then grant. come, the payment of which shall be regu- ed to the duchess of Brunswick; and yet larly made, we have granted to his serene the same application which was made now highness an annuity of 7,000l. charged might have been made then, and perhaps upon, and payable out of, the consolidated with greater force; as she was nearer alfund: to represent to his Majesty, that lied to his Majesty, If the duke of Brunswhile we are thus anxious to shew our at- wick bad been no relation of his Majesty, tachment to and respect for his Majesty's still from his sufferings he had a claim to illustrious House, we feel ourselves called the generosity of the English nation. Such upon humbly to submit to his Majesty's claim bad been allowed to other royal and gracious consideration the heavy and in- distinguished persons, who, driven from creasing burthens to which his Majesty's their dominions and estates, had sought faithful subjects have been and still are shelter in this country. It must also be exposed in the prosecution of the war recollected, that the annuity was only conagainst France, burthens which we know tingent, as it was to last no longer than not how to alleviate, but which we are the continent remainëd in the present unbound by our indispensable duty not un settled state, and, therefore, it would not necessarily to augment : humbly there he easy to ascertain what sum from the fore to implore, that his Majesty will be droits of admiralty would be an equivagraciously pleased to direct that from the lent for an annuily so circumstanced. money at the disposal of the crown from Mr. Crecvey would not by any means the droits of admiralty, such a sum be admit that the droits of admiralty were paid into the consolidated fund as may be the absolute property of the crown. He equal to the value of the annuity proposed thought, that when the king accepted a to be charged upon the same for his serene fixed annual income of 800,0001. it was highness the duke of Brunswick.”
supposed that he had given up all other The Chancellor of the Exchequer consi- claims. It never could be conceived at that dered that an application to his Majesty | time that such a sum as seven or eight mil. of the nature contained in that Address lions could get into the hands of the sovewould be perfectly novel, and such as had reign, after the commutation which had never before been adopted by parliament. been made. Although the law officers He considered that if the House really said that this was completely and absoagreed with the substance of the Address lutely the King's private property, what